Places to visit in Puri

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Jagannath temple

Jagannath temple Puri about 2 km wide and 4 km long is famous as Sri Purushottama Dhama is the dwelling of the Lord Vishnu on earth. Puri is also recognized with several names like Sri Kshetra, Jagannatha-dhama, Nilachala-dhama, Yamanika-tirtha, Nilagiri, MartyaVaikuntha, Shankha-kshetra, Dasha-avatara-kshetra and Narasimha-kshetra. Jagannath the word mythical means the Lord of the Universe. As per historical researches it is believed that King Indradyumna first established the temple of Lord Jagannath here on the Nilachala hill with the Deity being installed by Lord Brahma himself.

According to history the construction of the temple was begun during 12th century by King Chora Ganga deva and was finished by his descendant Ananga Bhima Deva. The compound of the temple covered an area of 10.7 acres and together with this here are 2 rectangular walls. The walls which are 20ft high were built during 15th or 16th century and the inner wall is called Kurmabheda. The outer area of the temple is called Meghanada Prachira.

This temple has a kitchen which is the largest kitchen in the world, and this kitchen feeds thousands of devotees daily. Normally the kitchen can prepare food for 25000 people on a daily basis but on festivals the kitchen can prepare food for 1, 00,000 people.

In the temple as many as 6000 priests are there to offer prayers and to perform rituals and 36 conventional communities are there who render a definite genetic service to the Deities. On the top of the Jagannath temple is a wheel called Nila-Chakra (blue wheel) and is made up of an alloy of 8 metals. Attached to the Nila-Chakra is a flagpole on which a flag is tied every day. On the top of the temple near the wheel a lamp is lit every Ekadashi.

The main temple is surrounded by thirty different smaller temples. Before the present temple is constructed the Lord Narasimha temple which is neighboring the western side of the Mukti-Mandapa. An 11 m pillar known as Aruna Sthambha is there in front of the main gate. The pillar which was once in front of the Sun Temple in Konark was bought to Puri during 18th Century. On the pillar is the figure of Aruna, the Sun god's charioteer.

Idol of Lord Jagannath also known as Patita Pavana (Savior of the Fallen) is there in the passage room of this gate. Since this idol is visible from the road, so those who are non-Hindus may get his Darshan.

There are 4 gates:

  • The Eastern Simhadwara (Lion Gate).
  • The Western Vyaghradwara (The Tiger Gate).
  • The Southern Ashwadwara (House Gate).
  • The Northern Hastidwara (Elephant Gate).

On the Grand side of the road is situated the Lion gate, which is the main gate, and there is a carving of each form on the entrance of each gate. There are so many deities within the walls of the temple house and they are the deities of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, Sakshi Gopal, Lord Rama Chandra, Hanuman, Lord Varaha Lord Narasimha and others but the main deities in the temple are Lord Jagannath, his brother Lord Baladeva, and his sister Subhadra.

Beleswar Beach

Beleswar Beach Beleswar, also known as Baleshwar is about 15 km east of Puri and he place is popular for its beach and Shaivite shrine. Tourist visits the place to watch the sunrise and sunset. The Beleswar Beach is more popula among newlywed couples who come to the beach to pray at the Shiva temple as it is less crowded.

Beleswar is famous for its religious holiness and its natural magnificence. The Mahashivaratri festival is celebrated with great dedication at the temple and thousands of devotees visit this place during the festival. The most popular ways to spend time on the beach are swimming, sunbathing and water sports etc. On the beach you won’t find any kind of hawkers as the beach is relatively free of them.

Baleswar beach is situated at the opening of Nuanai River and the sight of the river draining into Bay of Bengal is stunning. The beach is easily accessible as its distance is less than four km off the Puri Konark Marine Drive Road.

The beach together with the forest cover which stretches all along the beach offers a good place to relax as you watch the sea lash at the shore and calmly recede.

Where to Stay :
If you want the best options of accommodation, then that will be available towards the city of Puri only and if you are looking for budget hotels then that can be found near Balighai and on Konark Road. Near Beleswar Temple Road, Clarke Road, VIP Road and Red Cross Road you can get mid-range hotels. Luxury hotels are mostly located on Chakra Tirtha Road.

Where to Eat :
Vegetarian dishes are served by Shacks and restaurants near the beach on the Beleswar Temple Road. If you want South Indian, North Indian, Punjabi and Chinese cuisine then that is available near the beach.

Best Time to Visit :
The best time to visit Puri is from January to March.

Balighai Beach

Balighai Beach One of the most notable beaches in Odisha, Balighai’s pristine beach is relatively undiscovered. Situated at the mouth of Nuanai River, the spectacle of the calm river flowing into the Bay of Bengal is a sight to behold.

Balighai is about eight km northeast of Puri, famous for the Lord Jagannath temple. Located off the Puri-Konark Marine Drive Road, the white sandy beach is ringed by casuarina trees. The beach is a major attraction as it is an excellent place to enjoy time with family and friends. The beach sand glitters on full moon nights giving it a magical feel. Olive Ridley Turtles visit the beach during December and January to lay eggs and many migratory birds can be seen during winter months.

Boat rides are available which allows you to enjoy a sunbath or fight the waves and refresh your mind with a dip in the sea. There are other water sports available like water skiing and parasailing. There are different points on the beach from where you can see breathtaking views of the sunrise and the sunset.

You can visit the Balihirana Deer Sanctuary where you can spot the endangered Balihirana antelope and Indian Black Bucks. The Sea Turtle Research Centre, a short distance from the beach, is also worth a visit. You can also visit shrines near the beach like the Barahi, Lakshminarayan and the Amareshra.

Where to Stay :
If The best accommodation options are all located towards Puri. There are many budget hotels near BalighatChak and on Konark Road. Mid-range hotels are clustered near VIP Road, Clarke Road and Red Cross Road. Luxury hotels are mostly located on Chakra Tirtha Road.

Where to Eat :
If you like to eat vegetarian dishes, North Indian, South Indian, Punjabi and Chinese cuisine then the Shacks and the Restaurants on the beach on the Puri-Konark Marine Drive Road are best places to eat.

Best Time to Visit :
The beach can be visited throughout the year but the best time to visit is between October to March.

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